Opinion: As the EU in / or referendum hots up Tory PM David Cameron is sharing a platform with Labour's new London Mayor Sadiq Khan but it is not a good look.
Catching a news clip Cameron announcing Khan as the son of a bus driver and himself as the son of a stockbroker was a new low.
Slippery Cameron is well practised at using people and this time he is using Khan. It may be by mutual agreement but is damaging.
Those who claim the EU referendum is so important party politics are abandoned haven't got a clue how most people's minds work.
It looks like throwing your hand in with the devil and alienates many.
Those in the so-called Westminster bubble, and this time we include paid political employees around the country, may be applauding but many ordinary folk and a fair few members of both parties will grimace.
We have already seen images of an EU referendum photo-shoot with Dodgy Dave Cameron standing above former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown and former Labour leader Neil Kinnock. All three men were laughing but Cameron, used to offering style over substance, was strategically placed standing over the two-seated former leaders to look like he was in charge.
One man is at least for now sticking to his guns and refusing to campaign across political boundaries and that is Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
While some have criticised Corbyn for taking that stance his principled determination offers a shining light of hope; hope that there is at least one person in British politics that is not for sale to the highest bidder.
Make no mistake there are fortunes to be made or lost in politics and on the EU referendum.
Bookies stand a chance of raking money in but so do others.
These days it appears as if in many cases politicians and policy advisers in government are bought.
You only have to look at policies such as fracking, which is not the best or cleanest way forward in the search for new green energy but is the government's choice.
Someone somewhere is making big money out of each and every decision that will be made politically on fracking or else why is the government risking areas of the UK?
In 2013 " Lord Howell, Tory, was forced to apologise after insensitive comments regarding fracking. Lord Howell of Guildford, Essex, told a shocked House of Lords fracking should happen in the North East because it is filled with "desolate areas". The gasps his words received should have warned the Lord that he had gone too far but it was probably water of a duck's, or should that be Lord's, back. He carried on digging himself into a huge hole. Perhaps he was looking for shale gas in the House of Lords?"
Lord Howell is a former Tory energy minister and George Osborne’s father-in-law.
Is there any wonder the electorate is sick to death of politicians and politics and tends to steer well clear of both?
Too many people have been left believing our politicians are all the same meaning Jeremy Corbyn is a breath of fresh air to us all or rather he should and could be if in and out party backstabbing was controlled.
Crossing swords at the weekend with one Labour MP and a Labour councillor in a Labour Party Forum on Facebook this writer was left in no uncertain terms that she was being derided.
It was a double-sided attack and looking at timelines on Twitter it seemed booze may have been playing a part.
Confessing that before last year she had never heard of Jeremy Corbyn she was mocked. She was trying to make a point but gave up.
(Serious debate was not on the cards. After all she had posted a link to our report and obviously hit a nerve).
She is one of that breed of working-class women who has worked for a living never expecting or receiving helping hands along the way. She has always had an interest in politics but no time to hand over apart from consistently voting for the Labour Party.
To be fair she was not ambitious and opted to work to live not live to work.
But should that make her spot ball for two silly young Labour men who should know better?
The two men come from the Blairite camp which is relevant.
They obviously have old history with Corbyn though it cannot date back very far looking at their images unless they are fake.
My point was for most ordinary voters Jeremy Corbyn was an unknown quantity. They or we will judge him on his actions now.
That is why constant undermining by highly paid Labour MPS and others directly linked to the party who are feeding the mainstream media a diet of anti-Corbyn drivel are self-servatives and the very people voters like to say are "all the same".
But back to Sadiq Khan.
Ed Miliband was persuaded to join forces with Cameron and hot foot it to Scotland to try and impact on the independence referendum.
When that referendum was over and Cameron began breaking promises and screwing with the Scottish people their anger turned toward the Labour Party and Ed Miliband.
David Cameron was re-elected in the 2015 General Election and as they say the rest is history.
Khan may feel he is sitting comfortable as he has just won the London Mayoral election but and it is a big but.
During the mayoral race the Tories including Cameron ran a dirty campaign.
They accused Khan of sharing a platform with Hamas; of sharing a platform with extremists and I had to note Monday he is now sharing with the biggest extremist of them all David Cameron.
The Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith played it dirty from day one but after the election his friends tried blaming campaign managers.
While there is something appealing about playing the bigger man or woman joining forces with David Cameron however briefly does not fall into that category.
It is many things but overall it is a terrible image.
Perhaps Khan does not care as the main damage could be to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters?
The MSM now claim that Khan as mayor is on a footing with the Prime Minister but that is bunkum.
All that does is say once again North of Watford clear off.
People like this writer living well outside of London will shake our heads in dismay.
Twitter Bank Holiday Monday - David Cameron Verified account @David_Cameron 7h
Today Sadiq Khan and I will set aside our differences to show how remaining in Europe guarantees we are better off.
Is that the Royal WE?
Political living legend Dennis Skinner reportedly was ill at the weekend but is now resting at home.
Mr Skinner, 84, is admired, loved, loathed, feared and more. It may depend on your political persuasion and if you have been on the receiving end of his firebrand variety of politics.
He has been a thorn in the side of many a Tory party leader and quite a few leaders of his own Labour Party.
The so-called Beast of Bolsover has served his constituents well since 1970 and will be a hard act to follow. But sometime in the hopefully distant future 'our Dennis' must retire or pass on from this world. The latter happens to us all sooner or later.
Just last week though Skinner was showing he still has political fire in his belly as he pointedly called out 'hands of our BBC' at the state opening of parliament.
That led to right-wing social media outbursts that the BBC has always been a left-wing mouthpiece but nothing is further from the truth in 2016.
But Mr Skinner recognises that the BBC is a great national treasure worth protecting and fighting for its independence.
Dennis is a rare politician in 2016.
A true man of the people who was born into an ordinary household in a mining community, working down those same coal mines ahead of his political career.
He understands the various challenges that face ordinary men, women and children in a way that Cameron's old Etonian Cabinet never can.
He has never aspired to cosy up to royals or to getting settled in the House of Lords.
If Jeremy Corbyn had been elected leader of the Labour Party even a decade or two ago the two men and the late Tony Benn could have led a True Labour Party rather than a New Labour Party.
But while he is still able Mr Skinner will give David Cameron and his government a run for their money.
In late April he told a grinning clown, Tory Minister for Health Jeremy Hunt to wipe that smirk off his face as the junior doctor crisis deepened.
So Dennis Skinner we, your legion of faithful followers, fans and voters, wish you a speedy recovery. If there comes a time you feel you have to step down as MP we will understand but will sorely miss your humour, compassion, fire and good sense.
Get well soon 'our Dennis'.
Check out Mr Skinner's https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sailing-Close-Wind-Dennis-Skinner/dp/1784291234 for a great read
Sunday politics in the UK has an added dimension with the recently launched Peston on Sunday; in truth though Peston is not really a brand new slant on British politics.
Peston was the Business Editor for BBC News for eight years until 2014 when he went over to the 'other side' becoming the Political Editor of ITV News.
Peston on Sunday is a recent addition to the myriad of political 'chat' shows on air most Sunday mornings in the UK.
But ahead of its airing at 10am on ITV is the long-running Andrew Marr show on BBC1.
Sunday May 22 we decided to tune in for both but would we watch both fully or make a grab for the remote while they were still on air?
Andrew Marr Show
Marr kicks off as always with 'what's on' followed by a brief run-down of news headlines before moving on to mainstream hardcopy news headlines Sunday.
The editor of CapX and the Deputy Editor of the Sunday Times selected their preferred headlines for debate starting with the long-awaited Chilcot inquiry.
But it did not take long for the upcoming EU referendum to get centre stage.
Is Turkey about to join the EU and if it does how will that impact on the UK? The BRexit camp of the EU ref cites the possibility of huge numbers of migrants’ hot-footing it from Turkey to the UK if that happens.
The NHS in relation to the EU ref was more of the same.
CapX says it is 'for popular capitalism' while the Sunday Times is another right-wing publication from the Rupert Murdoch camp. Hardly surprising then that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters get a negative nod.
Eddie Izzard was up next but it was in reality more of the same as he is campaigning for the UK to stay in the EU referendum.
He did start by trying to encourage Brits to register to vote and get out there and vote. If you have not registered yet to vote you have till June 7 to be eligible for voting in the EU ref.
As Eddie Izzard is one of those running for Labour's NEC Mr Corbyn was mentioned again briefly by Marr.
So almost halfway through Marr and it is time for a weather update.
Have any viewers learned anything new yet from today's show?
Tory MP and Vote Leave campaigner Penny Mordaunt was next up. The biggest issue for debate was when Turkey will join the EU which will have a perceived negative impact on the UK.
Ifs, ands, maybes and thinks gave this section of the Marr Show a circular treadmill feel.
The state of the Tory Party post EU ref was dismissed by Mordaunt who claimed the Conservatives will unite whether we leave the EU or not.
The NHS and the EU again.
This is the lede in for NHS boss Simon Stevens who is up next post some light relief.
Mordaunt and Marr continued to debate the EU and in particular Turkey, going round in confusing circles.
Before Simon Stevens the light relief with a Marr interview with Game of Thrones star Kit Harington. Harington is currently playing Dr Faustus on stage.
Simon Stevens and NHS debt, highlighted in an infographic, and health service financial restraints offered a change of debate albeit briefly.
Are NHS savings workable?
Simon Stevens talk of reorganising care sounds good on paper but each time the NHS reforms additional costs are incurred and staff demoralised.
The Tory government have failed to give the NHS the funding needed.
Here we go then the EU referendum and would leaving the EU result in more money available for the NHS?
Marr tries to put words in Stevens mouth claiming he is saying he recommends the UK stay in the EU but the NHS boss refuses to play that game.
Leaving the EU could impact on NHS staffing and the cost of drugs with a brief mention of TTIP.
Music from PJ Harvey closes the show.
The Big Questions follows and sounds fairly EU free but we are checking out Peston instead as David Cameron is one of his guests this weekend.
Peston on Sunday
The format is more relaxed than Marr but the subject matter is much the same.
Dressed down guests but they are the old guard of politics; Esther McVey for the Tories and Ed Balls for Labour, although he lost his seat at the 2015 General Election.
Jeremy Corbyn is not campaigning cross-party which may anger some politicians but his supporters will be pleased that he has shown real backbone.
And David Cameron for the 'big interview'.
If you believe Marr and Peston are truly different think again.
Peston opens his debate with Cameron by cherry-picking quotes from Simon Stevens interview on Marr.
Listening to Cameron quoting big retail bosses and Mark Carney the Bank of England boss there is little wonder some people remain confused on the EU in / out question.
For all this EU spin the only dead cert voters in the referendum are those wanting out.
On a personal level asking a young supermarket worker how she would vote she seemed more inclined not to bother voting saying she did not really 'understand it.
And that is the problem after listening to such hyperbole for weeks. The issues remain as clear as mud.
The Cameron interview ran true to form; bluster, spin, shouting down Peston and too many 'I will not go into that' incidences.
Cameron is used to getting his own way but unless you are a fan the interview was painful viewing.
Dodgy Dave has little credibility these days; sadly as Peston asks viewers to stay tuned for more from the PM we cannot take any more.
Conclusion: Two very differently styled 'political' chat shows but in reality two sides of the same coin.
Additional: If Turkey entering the EU bothers you apparently the UK has a veto they can use on that one but they will of course only be one voice.
Two veteran Labour politicians are in the news this week for the best of reasons.
Jeremy Corbyn, the current Labour party leader, and Dennis Skinner may have snow on the roof but they still have fire in their bellies.
These two veteran Labour MPs could teach younger, career politicians a thing or two
Corbyn, who will be 67 on May 26, is often the butt of UK PM David Cameron's snide public school humour in the House of Commons and has had to get used to dirty Tory politics since he became party leader September 12, 2015.
He has been called everything from 'a pig to a dog' as they say and often by Dodgy Dave Cameron.
So is it surprising that Wednesday at the State Opening of Parliament Mr Corbyn opted to ignore Cameron's attempt at small talk?
One man renowned for adding a touch of humour and reality to the State Opening of Parliament pomp and ceremony is Dennis Skinner and in 2016 he has done it again.
Each year Mr Skinner, 84, and often called the Beast of Bolsover, will add a loud aside that hits the mark.
For 2016 it was a 'hands of the BBC' message to attendees and viewers.
The footage below illustrates why Skinner opts to sit in the same seat in the HoC he has occupied for years-it is almost centre stage and perfectly situated close to a microphone.
These two men are probably both loved and loathed in equal measure; when you have political principles you will never win a wide ranging popularity contest nor would you want to.
You will however earn respect and the support of your voters for doing the job you are paid to do and some.
Little wonder Corbyn and Skinner have represented their respective constituencies for many, many years.
With election results rolling in and some still to come political analysts and campaign managers are spinning a story and some.
Labour supporters were dismayed at perceived biased reporting by the BBC polling day Thursday. What the BBC reported and what it ignored told a strange tale.
Friday they have begun to challenge the Tories on whether that party has really done as well as claimed in the polls.
But the morning after the election night before is always about spin and spin again.
One story omitted in the run up to the elections was allegations of Tory election fraud dating back to 2015 and now facing criminal investigations. Little wonder the Tories are desperate to get their PCC candidates elected.
And on the day voters were turned away from the polls in Barnet and some smelled a rat. Was it simply an administrative error or an attempt to manipulate the vote?
On the back of that an ITV news report Friday says;
A Labour councillor who thought he had lost his seat was re-elected after a bundle of votes was found "under a Tory pile".
Mr Enright has since tweeted that he simply jumped the gun.
However with largely unreported allegations of election fraud hanging over the Tories some will draw their own conclusions.
Electoral Commission statement on allegations regarding Conservative Party spending return for 2015 General ElectionNews release published: 28-04-2016
The Electoral Commission has today (28 April) announced that as part of the investigation launched on 18 February 2016 into Conservative Party campaign spending returns, it has requested that the Crown (CPS) Prosecution Service and the police consider applying for an extension to the time limit available to pursue criminal prosecutions.
Representatives of the CPS, the Police and the Electoral Commission are meeting on Wednesday 4 May to discuss this request. The final decision to apply for an extension will rest with the police and the CPS.
Bob Posner, Director of Party and Election Finance & Legal Counsel at the Electoral Commission said,
“The police and the CPS both have the power to apply to the Courts to extend the time limit on bringing criminal prosecutions for electoral offences to allow for full investigations to take place. We have requested that they consider doing this.”
Why the Commission has made its request
The rules around candidate spending and potential criminal offences are matters for the police to investigate under the Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1983. The Commission’s request does not mean that it has any view on whether criminal charges should be brought, but that the CPS and the police should consider whether it would be appropriate to leave open to themselves the option of pursuing cases if they consider this is necessary at any stage.
The Commission has highlighted to police forces that true and accurate candidate spending returns had to be delivered to constituency returning officers within 35 days of the result of the UK Parliamentary General elections on 7 May 2015; and the ability to prosecute these allegations will end one year on from an offence being committed unless an application is made by the police to the Courts for an extension, which is allowed under the RPA. It is also open to the CPS, via the Director of Public Prosecutions to make such an application to the courts, which is why the Commission has requested that such action be considered.
Transparency and accountability in relation to campaign spending by local candidates and political parties is essential in order to ensure public confidence in the electoral process. Parliament has determined that anyone found guilty of an offence under the RPA relating to candidate spending or the making of a false declaration in relation to candidate spending, could face imprisonment of up to one year, and or an unlimited fine. The effect of a conviction is also that for 3 years a person convicted of an illegal practice is unable to be elected to the House of Commons or to hold elective office. Given the significant penalties that parliament has made available for such offences, the Commissions view is that in the absence of any current investigation by the police, it would be sensible for the criminal justice agencies to retain the ability to take action should appropriate evidence come to light as part of the Commission’s own investigation.
The Commission’s investigation
The Electoral Commission is currently investigating whether the Conservative Party met their reporting obligations under the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) 2000, at the General Election in May 2015 and in the by-elections held in Newark, Clacton and Rochester and Strood, which all took place during the regulated period for the General Election.
The priority of the Electoral Commission is to conduct a fair and thorough investigation and the time taken to complete an investigation varies on a case-by-case basis depending on factors including the complexity of the offence, the amount of material we are required to consider or whether interviews are necessary. Once the investigation is complete, the Commission will be able to decide whether any breaches have occurred and if so what further action, if any, may be appropriate. The Commission does not currently anticipate that its own investigation will have concluded before the time limit for RPA offences to be considered by the police will have expired.
The Commission monitors and takes all reasonable steps to secure compliance with the rules on campaign spending by local party candidates, but has no powers to investigate or sanction candidate spending offences under the RPA. We have recently called again for our powers in this area to be strengthened.
The Commission does have powers in relation to national campaign spending although our sanctioning powers are limited to a civil penalty of up to £20,000, which we have previously recommended should be reviewed and increased. The Government has not yet responded to this recommendation.
For more information contact Megan Phillips at the Electoral Commission Press Office on 0207 271 0704 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Out of office hours 07789 920 414
Notes to editors
NOTE: There is a one year time limit on prosecutions which could be one reason for smears and delays. NEWTEKWORLD has been told Monday that a meeting is planned for Wednesday: the Electoral Commission will make the case that the Police and or the CPS should apply to a court to waive the time limit. (Apparently the EC can't do it). If they agree, there can be a full criminal investigation.
Watch out for the massive dead cat on the table on Wednesday to knock it off the headlines.
With a slim majority the Conservative party is in a precarious position.
Currently 26 Tory MPS are being investigated for electoral fraud by the Electoral Commission in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service; more MPs than the Tory majority.
In April we reported "Allegations of election overspending look set to undermine the legitimacy of the UK Tory government but will allegations be explained away?"
Once again Channel 4 news is at the heart of allegations against the Conservative party.
Early in 2015 they reported on the story of David Cameron's fathers' links to an off shore tax haven following it up a few months later with "George Osborne family business' £6m offshore deal"; in 2016 it has been a series of revelations that appear to indicate the Tory Party did not play fair during the 2015 General Election campaign."
In November 2015 the Mail Online claimed Channel 4 could be sold off to raise £1billion adding David Cameron confirms ministers are 'looking at all the options' for the station."
Cameron was quick to insist he was a huge fan of Channel 4 harking back to its origins; he may however not like the direction its news service is now taking.
Channel 4 investigators have uncovered a series of overspends by the Tory party during its successful 2015 General Election campaign; a lot depends on what was local spending and what national.
Channel 4 News "obtained further undeclared receipts showing more than £38,000 was spent accommodating activists at hotels across the country, as part of the BattleBus2015 campaign. The spending was not declared to the Electoral Commission in accordance with the law. The investigation has also obtained evidence that the BattleBus campaign was focused on local candidates, suggesting the accommodation costs incurred should have been declared on local candidate spending returns, if so this could constitute a criminal offence."
The Conservative party claims administrative errors or should that be incompetence? Some however will suspect purposeful wrongdoing in order to win an election at any price.
And although the Conservative party and others may try to dismiss the allegations selective overspending at elections is a criminal offence.
The typical Tory method of firstly denying allegations and then back pedalling somewhat should not save them this time, assuming the Electoral Commission and our political system is fit for purpose.
Ultimately the Conservative Party confirmed to Channel 4 News that it had failed to declare the costs related to the Battlebus hotels due to what it described as an "administrative error" despite previously stating that all of the party's returns were accurate.
While in many ways it matters whether the extra costs were actually an administrative error or the Tories flouting the rules to get their way back into government either way it looks like they have broken the law.
Will the Conservative Party run true to form trying to dig up election spending inconsistencies across parties and maybe even reforming the electoral commission and its rules to suit?
For now they are employing 'smear' tactics against senior members of the Labour Party helped on by some in the party and mainstream media so inclined.
The Electoral Commission has strict rules about election spending but does it have any teeth when it comes to wrongdoing?
"The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. It regulates party and election finance and sets standards for well-run elections. The Commission is independent of Government and answerable to Parliament" but is it?
You can read how the investigation has proceeded at ElectionExpenses.co.uk.
Tories accused of disregarding election spending law
Will Electoral Commission prosecute Tory Party?
Op-ed: Thursday this blogger will be out voting in local council and PCC elections. Paula Baxter, Labour, a local woman who knows and understands the many challenges voters face on a daily basis will get my vote in Boothferry Hull Ward. Humberside PCC candidate Keith Hunter, Labour, will also be my choice.
In 2016 local council and PCC elections are more important than ever to Labour voters.
The Conservative party is tearing itself apart over the upcoming in / out EU referendum but unless you look closely you may miss that; the mainstream right-wing section of the media is concentrating on Labour party woes which are part of a Tory smear campaign.
So first the Tories who are:
But when they are on the ropes the so-called Nasty Party, the Tories, run true to form.
In the House of Commons Thursday Chris Grayling, Tory and Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons since 2015, used and abused parliamentary privilege.
He made vague allegations against Labour's Humberside PCC candidate Keith Hunter.
The Yorkshire Post reported Thursday "Mr Grayling was responding to a question in the Commons today from Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy over whether former police officers standing to become PCCs should be forced to make public their service records.The Leader of the Commons responded: “I am aware of allegations about the Labour PCC candidate in Humberside. “If the stories alleged about that candidate are true, he is unfit for public office, and it is a matter of public interest that the truth should be known before election day."”
So there the 'allegation' sits festering in the air ahead of the election.
Andrew Percy later tried distancing himself from Grayling's naming and news channels reported Thursday night that Grayling's office had not responded to requests for comment.
He has still not responded.
Sunday the affair was mentioned on the BBC morning political shows along with the John Mann and Ken Livingstone row that has been grabbing headlines since Thursday.
Helped along by backstabbers within the party, those wanting to oust Jeremy Corbyn as leader, the right-wing is having a field day; and that includes the right-wing of Labour.
As I type BBC lunchtime News again has Jeremy Corbyn, John Mann and Ken Livingstone as the lead story this time with London Mayor candidate Sadiq Khan thrown in for good measure.
The top billing spot should tell you all you need to know; it is a smear campaign pure and simple.
In Humberside the current PCC and up for re-election is Tory Matthew Groves.
Mr Hunter has accused Groves of failing in the role he has held since 2012. Grayling and his colleagues have a vested interest in ensuring Groves is re-elected and follows the party line on policing.
A spokesman for Mr Hunter said: “Keith has an exemplary record from 30 years’ service for Humberside Police with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of the Constabulary stating he made ‘an outstanding contribution to performance in all his posts’.
And Sunday the smear hangs in the air possibly affecting how some people will vote.
If you are a Labour supporter in Humberside voting locally has never been so important.
Tory and Ukip voters will be out in force and we must follow suit.
If you support Jeremy Corbyn as Labour party leader ignore the hype, smears, right-wing media manipulation and backstabbers in the party and send a message to the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Tories.
Labour often lose out to voter apathy but not this time if you play your part.
PCCs are a fairly new and Tory concept. But like it or lump it they are here to stay at least for the foreseeable future.
Thursday May 5 get out and vote and make that vote count.
Under the terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, PCCs must:
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